Guacamole-making machine explodes killing former upstate New York mayor, 67, and injuring two others


A FORMER upstate New York mayor was killed in a freak accident involving a guacamole machine that experienced a “catastrophic failure” and exploded.

Dr Joseph Kapp, 67, was at Innovative Test Solutions in Schenectady around 7am on Wednesday when the high-pressure vessel that was being tested for producing guacamole burst.


Dr Joseph Kapp served as mayor of Rensselaer, New York, in the 1990s[/caption]

Kapp was rushed from the engineering and laboratory testing firm to a hospital, where he died.

The former mayor of Rensselaer, New York, was a client of Innovative Test Solutions, the firm’s CEO and vice president Scott Briody told the Times Union of Albany. 

Two other unnamed people at the facility with Kapp suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were transported to Ellis Hospital and are expected to recover, Schenectady Fire Department Assistant Chief Don Mareno said. 

The explosion damaged the building but did not cause a fire or chemical spill, according to Spectrum News.

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The incident at Innovative Test Solutions occurred on Wednesday morning[/caption]

It was not immediately known what caused the machine to have a “catastrophic failure during trial operational tests.” 

The incident has been reported to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the local codes department.

Kapp served as mayor of Rensselaer in the 1990s and during that time, he “undertook important projects to revitalize the city,” County Executive Steve McLaughlin said in a statement to the Times-Union

He “leaves behind a legacy of service and accomplishment that greatly benefited Rensselaer County and the Capital Region,” McLaughlin stated. 

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Dr Joseph Kapp was inside the testing firm with two others who suffered less severe injuries[/caption]

Rensselaer Mayor Mike Stammel said Kapp was a “wealth of knowledge about so many things” and one of the first people he called for guidance. 

“He loved Rensselaer, where his family became known for running Kapp’s in the Hollow and other businesses,” Stammel said. 

“Joe Kapp was truly one a kind and cannot be easily replaced.”

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It was not immediately known what caused the machine to fail and explode[/caption]

Kapp was also the vice chairman of the Hudson Valley Community College Board of Trustees in Troy and the longest-serving trustee on the board, according to its president Dr Roger Ramsammy.

“Once a student at Hudson Valley, Joe gave back to the college immensely and served admirably as a trustee for two decades,” Ramsammy said.

The college’s board chairman Neil Kelleher described Kapp as “humble with accomplishments around the world” despite “a resume that had to be seen to believed.”

Kapp was “willing to work with anybody,” former Rensselaer Board of Education president John Mooney said. 

He is survived by his wife and children including a son serving in the Navy. 


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